Stalwart takes gardening leave then quits after his replacement on £400m project that he had led

Colin Small, Bovis Lend Lease’s former project director on the £400m BBC Broadcasting House redevelopment, has left the firm after being removed from the project.

Small, who had worked at Bovis for 33 years, was taken off the scheme despite winning the contract and leading it for three years.

He left Bovis four weeks ago after a period of gardening leave. He has now opted for early retirement from the firm because he did not want to pursue other roles. He has been replaced on the BBC project by Michael Handley.

A spokesperson for Bovis said: “We were coming to the end of the construction stage and were gearing up for the technical fit-out stage and that is an area of expertise that Mike has.”

Radio 2 and Radio 6’s music operations are due to move into the redeveloped building in September, and the rest of BBC Radio will start to move in at the end of the year.

It is understood that Small was disappointed to be taken off the project, especially as his involvement was one of the considerations that won the contract for Bovis. However, Small, who had spent his entire career at Bovis, said he had reached an amicable settlement. He said: “No reasons were given for my removal.”

A source close to Bovis said Small was taken off the job because of tensions with Land Securities, the BBC development partner.

Small said he was proud to have worked on the project and that he and Bovis director Les Chatfield had been 100% committed to winning the contract on the company’s behalf.

“That was the hardest I have ever worked to win a job, we had to go through hoops. It wasn’t given that we would win. We didn’t know until the day we got the phone call that we had won.”

Small said the decision to appoint Bovis was “fair”, despite accusations from rival Schal that the BBC had run a “rigged” tender.

Small has now joined Ardmore Group, a north London contractor, as construction director.

Ardmore has a turnover of about £330m. Small is working on projects including a mixed-use regeneration scheme in the centre of Chelmsford, Essex, and a casino scheme for Heron International in Glasgow.